by Scott Planting, Maine Seacoast Mission President
At Christmas I take down from the book shelf a precious book that I purchased in Farmington, Maine, December 1, 1975, my first Christmas in the parish in Western Maine I served for 35 years. The book is a collection of meditations called The Mood of Christmas by Howard Thurman. Here is an excerpt from “The Gift of Grace”:
This is the season of Christmas. For many people, in many places, it is a time of great pressure and activity, a time when nerves are tense, and when a great deal of anxiety hovers over the common life. And this is just the reversal of what the mood and the meaning of Christmas really are. I would like to suggest, then, that for those who care deeply about the meaning of your own lives and the significance of high celebration, that you would do two things during this season. One, that you will seek reconciliation with any person or persons with whom you have, at the moment a ruptured or unhappy relationship…find a way by you can restore a lost harmony, so that your Christmas gift to yourselves will be peace between you and someone else.
The second is just as simple. Will you with your imagination, with your fancy, will you conjure up into your minds a gift of grace that you might give to someone for whom you have no obligation. It may be just to pick up the telephone and call someone whose life is not tied to yours in any way…and say a word of reassurance, of comfort, of delight—so that you will feel that out of the fullness of your own hearts, you have conferred upon some unsuspecting human being a gentle grace that makes the season a good and whole and hale and happy time.
I believe these two simple gifts are at the heart of the work of the Maine Seacoast Mission restoring lost harmonies and the gentle grace of bestowing delight upon unsuspecting people.
Wishing you gentle graces at Christmas,